Bitter Orange Extract: Nutrition Health Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects

Oranges are some of the most popular and healthy fruits available. This bitter and sweet citrus fruit is enjoyed worldwide for its tangy flavor and numerous applications. They are recognised as a rich source of vitamin C and are often suggested by nutritionists to be included in the diet for a variety of reasons.

There are many varieties of oranges, some on the sweeter side while some tend to be towards the bitter side. Among them, perhaps the most bitter one is the Citrus aurantium, also known as the bitter orange or Seville orange. True to its name, it is often said to be the most bitter oranges available and is the one used to make orange marmalade.

While the fruit in itself is used for a variety of reasons, the peel is mostly discarded. However, the extract derived from the Seville orange has several uses of its own. Bitter orange extract is believed to have some health benefits that make it an occasional inclusion among the various ingredients in health supplements.

The potency of bitter orange extract is derived from a powerful chemical compound known as synephrine. It has characteristics very similar to that of many performance boosting and fat burning chemical compounds.

This 100% natural and fruit based ingredient has been subjected to a good amount of research in recent times. The reason behind this write-up is to present a detailed coverage of the various health benefits that bitter orange extract has come to be known for. Through this, we shall highlight why bitter orange extract is used in supplements. With that being said, let us see what this citrus fruit has to offer.

Health Benefits of Bitter Orange Extract

Weight loss

Research has shown that the consumption of supplements containing bitter orange extract can help in weight loss. The absorption of synephrine leads to a very strong thermogenic effect that effectively burns the unwanted fat deposits from certain fatty areas of the body such as the belly, thighs, abdomen etc.

The pungency of bitter orange extract, that is, synephrine provides a good amount of biochemical energy to burn fat. The energy obtained from the theemogeof fat deposits is used to provide you with enough energy to not get exhausted during the weight loss regime.

Furthermore, bitter orange extract have been shown to improve the rate of metabolism and also make the consumer feel more full, thereby helping in weight loss.

Indigestion issues

Oranges themselves are often given when feeling nauseated or unwell. Studies have demonstrated that the bitter orange extract is supremely effective in helping to treat acid reflux and other indigestion problems such as stomach issues and heartburn.

Synephrine is very strong but it has a very soothing effect on the inner lining of the digestive tract. In other words, your digestive tract helps to pass digested food more freely. Its acidic properties aid in better absorption of food particles and elimination of undigested parts.

Moreover, the intake of bitter orange extract also relaxes the stomach and prevents the formation of acidity.

Good for the skin

It is a very well known fact that bitter orange extract is an excellent source of vitamin C. This form of vitamin is well documented for being very good for the skin due to its rich content of antioxidants. Research has shown that bitter orange extract rounds up as being exceptionally good for the skin. The free radicals generated by the skin’s exposure to the sun’s UV rays, pollution and other environmental factors damage the cellular structure making up the skin’s epidermis. If the free radicals are not detoxified, they can cause skin dryness, loss of natural elasticity, roughness and early signs of aging.

The rich content of antioxidants in bitter orange extract go on to detoxify the body from these free radicals and also protect your skin from further damage.

The association of bitter orange extract with skincare has been known for centuries now. Essential oils derived from the peel and flowers of the orange fruit have been applied on the skin even in ancient civilizations. Even traditional medicine meant for skincare have been utilising this citrus extract for ages.

May boost physical performance

Studies have speculated that the consumption of bitter orange extract can help in boosting the body’s overall performance in physically demanding activities. This is primarily based on the fact that the functionality of synephrine is very similar to that of ephedra, a performance boosting chemical compound that has been banned from usage. Synephrine is regarded as the safer alternative to ephedra as it performs the same set of functionalities but comes with no major side effects to be concerned about.

However, the effectiveness of bitter orange extract as a performance booster is still debatable as most of the time, this citrus extract is mixed with other established and safe stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and tyrosine.

There is still the need of a great deal of research to be conducted in order to truly establish bitter orange extract as a performance enhancing ingredient. However, it has to be noted here that the safety parameters of the bitter orange extract have already been confirmed.

Helps to control diabetes

Some test-tube experiments have established that the intake of bitter orange extract helps people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels better. This study involved the administration of bitter orange extract through orange juice to a group of subjects having type 2 diabetes for a one month period. It was found that their blood sugar levels decreased significantly. However, it is to be noted that the same results can also be obtained from the consumption of other citrus juices such as lemon juice.

Possible side effects

Bitter orange extract, or for that matter, orange juice is absolutely safe and healthy to drink. However, this applies as long as you are not having excess of it.

The consumption of excessive orange juice can result in some side effects such as headaches, nausea, increased sensitivity to the sun etc. However, one had to drink way too much of orange juice in order to experience these side effects.

Coming to bitter orange extract supplements (mainly meant for vitamin C deficiency), the overuse of these products may trigger some serious side effects such as abnormal heart rate, vomiting and unconsciousness.

For people choosing to take supplements, they are advised to consult their doctor on their intake.


Oranges are widely popular for being wholesome and nutritious fruits with numerous health benefits. You can gladly drink a chilled glass of orange juice or enjoy some marmalade whenever you want, but don’t consume too much of it and disturb your stomach.

Supplements of bitter orange extract should be consumed with care as their excessive usage may lead to various side effects. Get a medical consultation before you try these.

Once you have taken care of these particulars, you can enjoy your oranges even more now that you know what health benefits they carry!

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